How Do You Care for a Map Turtle?


Quick Answer

Map turtles must be kept in fish tanks large enough to sustain them. Because they are aquatic, most of the environment should consist of water, but they also need a dry basking area. A warm temperature should be maintained with UVB lighting. Map turtles are omnivores and require both plant and animal food.

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Full Answer

Map turtles grow to a length of 5 to 10 inches. A 20-gallon tank is sufficient for two or three babies, but a full-grown adult needs a tank of about 75 gallons. The tank should have a quality filter to keep the water clean, clear and flowing. UVB lighting should keep the temperature around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes below 60 F, the turtle may go into hibernation. Map turtles need fresh leafy vegetables such as dandelion greens, romaine and parsley. These should be sprinkled in the water or clipped to the side of the tank. Animal food that can be fed to map turtles includes krill, shrimp, earthworms, mealworms, crickets and fish, although fatty fish like goldfish should be avoided.

If the tank does not have sufficient natural sunlight or UVB lighting, or the water quality is poor, map turtles tend to develop fungal infections in the shell, skin and ears. A soft toothbrush can be used to brush algae off the shell and skin, but ear infections require a visit to an exotic pet vet and antibiotics. Calcium supplements help prevent shell deformities and bone disease.

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